Midtown’s Redone Central Square Plaza Looking To Lure Tenants to Its Empty Ground Floor

A building permit filed recently on the Central Square Plaza complex that takes up the block of Travis St. between Gray and Webster reveals Kraftsmen Coffee as the latest restaurant slated for the renovated tower’s empty ground floor. Work to install plumbing for the 1,768-sq.-ft. space that the owners of coffee shop plan to take over began last year.

The photo at top views the west portion of the building’s ground floor, which sits about halfway down the block on Gray St. and faces Milam. A parking garage is off-camera to the right. Around the corner — on the building’s north side — a TABC flyer for Malawi’s Pizza still hangs in the window of the empty storefront on Gray where it was originally posted back in 2016:



Claremont Property Group got started with renovations on the property — including glassing over its facades — soon after former owner Alfred J. Antonini unloaded it in 2013. Antonini had been battling the city in court after officials ordered him to repair portions of the complex in 2009. By the time he listed it, the space was vacant. Now, despite vacancies in the building’s street level, a handful of tenants have already moved into the upper floors of the 300,000-sq.-ft. tower.

Photos: Swamplot inbox

Kraftsmen Coffee

11 Comment

  • The problem, as always, is that this building faces that awful Greyhound Station (even if an empty block separates the two).

  • yeah mike maybe garnet coleman can get greyhound to relocate to 3rd ward to slow gentrication there so midtown can be emancipated.

  • All it needs now is to restore The Central Square sign-With the time & temperature on the back, and with LED. Also, I like to see it spin again.

  • The Greyhound Bus Station is the crap hole of Midtown. Midtown will never be classy with that grimy facility.

  • I’d agree that the Greyhound station is a definite repellent – during Harvey, I could only get back to town from Dallas by taking a bus from Dallas to here then having a friend take me to Hobby to get my (dry) car. The actual bus ride was nice, though.
    The Houston bus station is grim and grimy but the Dallas one is truly scary. If you ever think you’re life isn’t any good, take a stroll through those bus stations and you’ll find that you’re life is actually really sweet.

  • After all the beautiful exterior enhancements, does Claremont plan to update and restore functionality of the enormous electronic retro clock on top of the building? The building now looks so nice. I can’t believe the clock sitting on top has not been restored, paint peeling off and not turned on, especially when it completes the whole retro-mod feel of the entire project.

  • Are the people who complain about the location of the Greyhound station (and its neighbor the El Expresso station), conveniently situated near downtown along the light rail line, and across the street from the Downtown Transit Center, the same people who complain that the proposed high speed rail station isn’t targeted for downtown?
    * The Greyhound station predates the light rail and the DTC by decades, but prior to the light rail, there were many bus routes that ran down Main and stopped at this Greyhound station. I don’t remember whether this was formerly the Trailways station or whether the Trailways station was nearby.

  • Instead of moving the Greyhound station, we could just issue special augmented reality glasses to occupants of the Central Square Plaza that replace buses with trains, homeless people with hipsters and drug paraphernalia with whatever the current equivalent of the “cronut” fad is.

  • ” Lure” is the right word. Lure in tenants and then they disappear never to be seen again!!!! That whole area is so shady and sketchy , I don’t know how any business could make a go of it there. BAD location- you’d be dealing with street urchins half the time , rest of the time trying to get customers in the door. Example: Malawi’s Pizza: had a posted TABC notice in Sept 2016 !!! That tells us something. They probably bailed. I think that building is cursed. Or is a portal to Hell !! I used to work out in the old President’s Fitness Club and the whole building gave me the creeps. @ JoeDirt: Exactly !! Since Garnet thinks he OWNS the 3rd ward and doesn’t want any white people in his hood. Whiteys who are saving his hood. Cause he’s taking properties OFF the tax rolls .@ Troy Goodwin / Unsure About This : Yes. Restore the sign. But Claremont can’t get any tenants to sign LONG term leases that would justify fixing the cool sign. They’ll probably tear it down. The bus stations NEED to go. But the ball-less /spineless politicians have NO guts to actually do it !! You know they all want to, but are such wussy cowards, they’re waiting for some right wing republican waahoo to come out and say what they won’t.

  • I would have been great if the Greyhound, Amtrack, MegaBus, and Texas Central Railways station could have all been at the same spot. Makes sense in theory but hard to do in reality. This is what New Orleans has.

  • Interesting comments. I, too, regret the issues that impede this area from being a more hospitable place. However, I would agree that its tough to figure out how to deal with it an a humane way. Facilities that aid the homeless, addicted, and mentally ill are important. And bus stations. But, I’m still puzzled why they need to be located where they are. The only argument that I’ve heard for having them where they are is because they are in locations that currently have good city bus service. That could easily to be tweaked, if we wanted to.

    As a historical note, I am old enough to have traveled via Greyhound when it’s station was a block or two from where Minute Maid Park is now. It was somewhat creepy then, but nothing like the “new” station. The station in Dallas is in the same place that it was in the 70s … and while a bit uncomfortable to walk past, it is nowhere are creepy as the one in Houston. I’m not passing judgement on the people who hang out there on the street, but the situation is obviously not good for the city overall.